Boosting signal-to-noise in complex biology: prior knowledge is power

Cell. 2011 Mar 18;144(6):860-3. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2011.03.007.


A major difficulty in the analysis of complex biological systems is dealing with the low signal-to-noise inherent to nearly all large biological datasets. We discuss powerful bioinformatic concepts for boosting signal-to-noise through external knowledge incorporated in processing units we call filters and integrators. These concepts are illustrated in four landmark studies that have provided model implementations of filters, integrators, or both.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Disease / genetics
  • Gene Regulatory Networks
  • Genome, Human
  • Genome-Wide Association Study
  • Humans
  • Proteins / metabolism
  • Signal Processing, Computer-Assisted*
  • Signal Transduction


  • Proteins